Office 365 Updates: November 2019


AMT’s Monthly Office 365 Updates keep you up to date with new features and important announcements from Microsoft. Office 365 has a continuous roll-out of changes. We filter out the announcements that we think will be most relevant to our customers and send them out in an easily digestible form. Here are the Office 365 November updates.

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Previous Updates – October 2019.


Updates Feature: Updates to Search coming in Outlook for Windows 

With this update, Outlook for Windows will provide suggested emails and files once you tap or click into the search box. This aligns the experience with Microsoft Search in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. 

The “What do you want to do” option will no longer appear in the simplified or classic ribbon. Instead, you can simply use the new Search box to enter the same query. 

This update moves the search box into the Title bar, leaving a cleaner message list and more room to view additional messages. Along with the new search box, recent improvements such as top results, spelling suggestions, and email suggestions as you type bring a richer, more intelligent, and modern search experience to the Outlook client. 

Your customers will have the option to preview the changes and provide feedback using the Coming Soon feature before Search at the top of Outlook rolls out as the default experience in production. 

Users can switch back to the current production experience for search in Outlook for Windows until the new search becomes the default experience. 

Office 365

New Feature: SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business record versioning using Retention Labels 

If you have retention labels which declare items as records in use within SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, your users will now see a new toggle named “Record Status” under the properties of the item. 

This toggle will let users “unlock” the record to continue collaborating on the document. All while preserving the original declared record in the Preservation Hold library. 

Once a version of the document needs to be declared as a record again, users can “lock” the “Record Status”. 

Updated feature: Introducing Safe Documents for Office 365 ProPlus 

Safe Documents is the first in a series of new security capabilities in the Office 365 ProPlus desktop apps. This will be made available in Spring 2020. Safe Documents will bring the power of Microsoft Office Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to the desktop for Office 365 ProPlus clients. Customers must be appropriately licensed. 

When a user wants to consider a document “trusted”, Safe Documents automatically checks the file against the ATP threat cloud before it releases the document. This integration with ATP provides admins with advanced visibility and response capabilities such as 

  • Providing alerts, logs, and confirmation that a potential attack was contained, and 
  • Providing visibility into similar threats across the enterprise. 

New Feature: File Hover Card – Conversations 

Microsoft are continuing to improve visibility of file activities. When you review the on-hover card, the file card conversations feature will show relevant emails, meetings, and Teams conversations. The feature augments existing file details such Inside Look and Activity. 

When someone sends an email, a Teams message, or a meeting invitation that references a file from SharePoint or OneDrive, that conversation will be displayed in the file card with a link to the conversation(s).  

The conversations displayed on the file card will only be visible to those users who took part in them. This means that you won’t see another person’s conversations that are not related to the file in question. They also won’t see yours. 

New Feature: File Hover Card – People who viewed 

This new file card feature will show you who has viewed your files and pages in SharePoint. When someone views a file you own or a page or news article that you have authored, SharePoint displays that people information and profile image of the viewer in the file hover card. 

This information is available only to people who themselves have access to a file and only when the SharePoint site owner has enabled this feature. Users who cannot access the file will not see this data. 

This feature exists alongside file details and actions like Inside Look and Activity. 

Updated Feature: End user profile experience 

When you opt in for your end users to see the new My Apps, then they will also see the new My Account experience when they select ‘View account’ in end-user sites like My Apps and My Groups. 

Additional information

New Feature:  Block organisational data on Outlook mobile notifications 

Admins will be able to block organisational data from appearing in Outlook mobile email and calendar notifications on both iOS and Android end-user lock screens by enabling the new Intune Application Protection Policy (APP) configuration, “Org data notifications”. 

An additional app configuration setting, “Calendar notifications,” enables event reminders to display information as they do today. By enabling the combination of the APP setting and this app configuration setting, you can limit organisational data in mail notifications, while exposing organisational data in calendar notifications. This way, users can quickly glance at the notification or notification center to get required details and get to their meetings on time. 

New Feature: Suggested replies in Outlook for iOS 

Once available, if your device language is set to English, Outlook will suggest three response options. These can be used to reply to emails that can be answered with a short response.  

As an administrator, you can manage whether or not people in your company will see suggested replies to emails in Outlook for iOS and Android with app configuration policies. Additionally, administrators can manage the settings that control whether the user can alter the setting. Managing these settings with mobile device management will not impact the suggested replies experience in Outlook on the web. 

(Note: the configuration toggle currently says “Suggested replies for Android” and can be used to also manage the iOS app configuration. Eventually the configuration label will change to simply “Suggested replies”).   

By default, suggested replies will be enabled in Outlook for iOS. Users will be able to manually disable (or re-enable) the Outlook mobile setting. This can be done within the app unless their company applies the app configuration settings described above. 

Additional information


New feature: Audience targeting in SharePoint Online organisational news 

Audience targeting for news allows page authors and site owners to tag pages and news posts with Azure AD groups. It also allows them to filter content within these web parts to people within those groups. 

Additional information

New Feature: SharePoint and OneDrive support for sensitivity labels (preview) 

This feature is off by default. A global or SharePoint admin must enable it using PowerShell. These features work only with sensitivity labels (also called unified Microsoft Information Protection labels). If you used Azure Information Protection labels, you can convert them to sensitivity labels. This enables these features for new files that you upload.

For this preview, use the OneDrive sync app version 19.002.0121.0008 or later on Windows and version 19.002.0107.0008 or later on Mac (both released on January 28, 2019, and currently released to all rings). See the OneDrive release notes. After you enable this preview, users who run an older version of the sync app will be prompted to update it. 

Be aware of the limitations before you turn this feature on. 

Additional information

Updated Feature: PowerApps integration with SharePoint Libraries 

PowerApps is already integrated into SharePoint lists, which provides the ability to create an app for a list directly from the SharePoint list experience. 

We are now enabling this same sort of capability in SharePoint libraries.  


SharePoint – Classic popularity reports to be retired 

You can get site usage popularity reports from the modern Site Usage page. Clicking “Popularity Trends” in site settings, will automatically re-direct you to the modern Site Usage page. Here, you can access usage data for the last 90 days. The data represented in the modern Site Usage report includes data from Classic sites as well as from modern sites. To learn more about the modern site usage page, review: View usage data for your SharePoint site .

Additional information

New Feature: SharePoint home sites 

A Home site is the top landing page for your organisation’s intranet. You can designate any communication site to be the home site with a simple PowerShell cmdlet. 

By making a communication site the home site, it will be more discoverable from both the SharePoint start page and the SharePoint mobile app. In addition, it will serve as a source of authoritative news for your organisation and be automatically be set up for organisation-wide search. 

Additional information

New Feature: Multiple updates to the Sharepoint admin centre 

  1. Replace root site – You can replace your root site with another site from the SharePoint admin center. The original root site is moved to a different URL and can be restored, if necessary. This feature will only be available for limited customers. For more information, refer to Message Center post MC189866. 
  2. Permissions panel – You can now see the site Owners, Members, and Visitors. If it’s an Office 365 group-connected site, you can see the group owners, and add or remove additional site admins if needed. 
  3. People card – Hovering over the name of a user (on the Active sites list or in the details panel) lets you see details about the user. 
  4. Additional site-level sharing settings – For all sites, you can now limit sharing by domain, set the default sharing link type, and set default sharing link permission, (Previously, you could only do these tasks for classic sites on the classic site collections page.) You can also make “Anyone” links expire. Additionally, the External sharing column is now included when you export your site list as a .csv file. 
  5. Navigation pane – The navigation pane is customizable. You can hide items you don’t use or collapse the navigation menu to see more content on the page. 
  6. More features page – The “Classic features” page has been renamed to “More features,” and all classic features are shown on the page so that you don’t need to click “More classic features” to see them. 

Design updates 

  1. Details panels have been widened, to provide space for future enhancements. They also match the design of other Microsoft 365 admin centers. 
  2. The Settings page has been redesigned as a list that lets you see the current value for each setting. 

Additional information


New Feature: Presenter and attendee roles in Microsoft Teams meetings 

Meeting organisers will now have an option to define presenter and attendee roles for meeting participants. Presenters will have full permissions in the meeting. Whereas attendees cannot share content, take control, mute or remove other participants, admit people waiting in the lobby, or start/stop recording. 

Before or during the meeting, organisers can specify who is an attendee or a presenter through the meeting options panel. The available choices are as follows: 

  • Everyone (default; everyone joins as a presenter and has full permissions) 
  • People in my organisation (federated and anonymous users join as attendees) 
  • Specific people (allows the organiser to set specific people from their organisation as presenters) 
  • Only me (everybody apart from the organiser joins as an attendee) 

To access the Meeting options panel: 

  • In Teams, go to Calendar, select a meeting, and then select Meeting options. 
  • In a meeting invitation, select Meeting options. 

The organiser and presenters will also be able to change the role of any individual participant (“Make an attendee” or “Make a presenter”) during the meeting. 

New Feature: Microsoft Teams – Native Federation for 1:1 Chats 

Teams users can now message Teams users from different organisations and enjoy the richer Teams messaging experience using stickers, @ mentions, and images. 

The external access policy applies only to Teams chat. 

Additional information

New Feature: Welcome a new colleague into Teams 

The Activity feed is the location to notify users or activity they may be interested in such as @mentions, likes and reactions, and activities within groups or channels. Microsoft are expanding this to include a notification for new colleagues joining Teams for the first time. 

Users can manage their notifications by going to Settings > Notifications > Highlights for you 

New Feature: Tags in Microsoft Teams 

Using tags, team owners can organize users based on a common attribute, such as role, project, skill, training, or location. After team members have tags, the team owner or a tagged team member can create a channel post, @tagName, that notifies only the users who have that tag (in this case @tagName). Tags are team-based; you have to a be a member of a team in order to use an associated tag. 

For example, you could send a message to all cashiers in a store or all nurses in a specific hospital ward. 

Admins can restrict tagging to team owners or allow any team member to add tags to other team members. Team owners may limit tagging for their team. 

New Feature: Sensitivity Labels for Teams 

Microsoft are pleased to announce the public preview for Sensitivity Labels for Teams. Sensitivity Labels can be prescribed at a tenant level and when applied to a Team can regulate the public/private settings that can be selected by the user creating the Team. Furthermore, the labels can also regulate whether Teams created by any user in the tenant can have guest access or not. 

  • Roll out to be complete by the end of December 

Additional information

Updated Feature: New location of New Chat button 

The New Chat button will now be located at the top of the chats list. This means that you’ll only be able to access it from the Chat app, as opposed to any app (e.g. Teams, Calendar, etc). The shortcut Ctrl + N (CMD + N for Mac) will continue to work the same way as before. 

The options to toggle between Recent view and Contacts view in the Chat app will now be located in a drop down on the title/header of the chat list. 

New Feature: Microsoft Teams for Linux 

The Teams client for Linux will facilitate collaboration by extending capabilities like chats, meetings, and calling to people who are operating in a Linux environment. 

The Teams client for Linux will also allow users to open and edit Office files in the Teams app. 


New Feature: Request Files command now rolling out 

When enabled, this feature allows a user to ask another user to place files into a specific folder that they own. The folder must be in their own OneDrive for Business. 

  • To request files, select the folder you want the recipient to use and click Request Files
  • Add a description of the files you’re requesting, click Next
  • Type the email of the person from whom you are requesting files or copy the link. 

After the recipient clicks on the invitation link, she selects her files to upload. The original requestor will be able to see all the collected files, but recipients will only be able to upload files. They won’t be able to access any contents within the selected folder and won’t be able to modify their own uploads once the upload is submitted. 

The original requestor will get an email when recipients submit files to the folder. 

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